DS on why claiming JS practiced polygamy is fraught.

Mar 22, 2015
Speech / Court Transcript
Denver Snuffer

Denver Snuffer, "Plural Marriage," transcript, March 22, 2015, 1, accessed July 28, 2021

Denver Snuffer, Brian C. Hales
Reading Public

Hales adds, “Unfortunately, no accounts of a public discourse discussing plural marriage have been found.” Given this stark reality, it should force us to be more circumspect about what we decide to attribute to Joseph Smith as we attempt to reconstruct events. It is largely our imagination that supplies the missing “history” for Joseph Smith rather than authoritative source material.

So as I begin the subject, I want to suggest interpreting the material while making attributions to Joseph Smith about his behavior, understanding, teaching, and doctrine I think should be extremely circumspect. I believe Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. We sing a hymn with the words, “Jesus anointed that Prophet and Seer.” If that hymn is right, and I think it is, then Joseph Smith would be included among those who are anointed by the Lord. We should be very careful of “evil speaking of the Lord’s anointed” because we can inadvertently incur God’s displeasure by doing so. I would not want to attribute to Joseph Smith sexual indiscretions he did not actually commit. It is risky to claim you know the heart of that man if you have not gone to the trouble of searching the subject enough to be fair when you make the attempt. I think this is something we all ought to be very careful about if we decide we are going to judge Joseph Smith.

Copyright © B. H. Roberts Foundation
The B. H. Roberts Foundation is not owned by, operated by, or affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.